LW3001 - Law and Ethics

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What will I learn on this module?

This module recognises the important role that ethics has to the practice of law and is designed to enable students to begin to develop the knowledge, thinking skills and practical aptitudes in relation to law and ethics necessary to the successful study and practice of law.

You will be encouraged to consider your own moral positions using Case studies, both real and fictional, (e.g. lifeboat cannibalism, autonomy and end of life cases) to present you legal ethical dilemmas. Using Tutor led and group discussion you will begin to investigate both the basis of your ethical views and to deconstruct moral makeup: and consider challenging questions such as where does your moral sense originate? How do you make ethical judgements and to what extent are your actions guided by these judgements? These and other questions you will face include whether your moral sensibilities are a sufficient foundation for evaluating moral problems, making judgements and acting upon them – especially in consideration of your moral responsibilities to others.

Basic moral philosophical distinctions will be made between the nature of moral judgements and argument (e.g. are there any objective moral truths) and ethical principles (e.g. what does it mean to be a ‘good person’ and why?). A range of ethical stances will be examined and account taken of the historical development of ethical thought and its relation to law in particular areas e.g. insanity, marriage, children, homosexuality, animals.

Building on these ideas, the second part of the module will explore case studies using class debates, research tasks and films selected from the Muckle law film collection sessions. Wherever possible, contemporaneous events in the media will be incorporated to make the module content current. Links will be made to Year 1 modules such as Public Law, Crime, Contract, Property and Tort to illustrate the centrality of ethics to the making and practice of law. Themes will include Criminal Justice, Human Rights and Freedom to resist the law, Equality, Medical and Scientific development (eg abortion, right to life and euthanasia )

How will I learn on this module?

This 20 credit module delivers 200 hours of learning. Teaching will be delivered through 12 x 1 hour lectures and 12x 2-hour workshop type sessions. Total = 36 hours of face-to-face teaching.

You will learn through face-to-face teaching in workshops and through student independent learning as well as lectures, which provide introductions to the topics under consideration.

The workshops will function mainly as forums for discussion of material you will have prepared for in advance and also for activities such as debates and group presentations. Workshops will use individual, pair and group work as directed. You will have set materials for some sessions with additional materials provided in some sessions, in others you will be able to choose material to discuss. Live research will be conducted in some workshops.

As above, you will engage in tutor guided independent learning (TGIL) in your preparation for teaching sessions. You will be provided with handouts, electronic reading list and supplementary materials via the eLP. You will prepare for teaching sessions by undertaking the recommended reading and preparation in advance: some of this will involve group work out of session.

You will be required to take part in group discussions and to complete a timed essay that addresses the development of your ethical understanding which is linked to a specific law and ethics topic. Together, you will produce a formative group presentation and timed assessment which will demonstrate your ability to work with others and independently, to reflect on your own learning, to conduct research and to apply your findings to a given topic. You will also demonstrate the key skills of communicating your findings effectively both orally and in writing.


Feedback on summative assessment will take the following forms:
• Oral feedback and written comments on your group presentation
• Completion of written feedback for your reflective essay, including ‘feed forward’ comments
• Use of assessment criteria marking grid
• Opportunity to discuss your assessment performance with your tutor

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The primary form of academic support on this module will be through the taught workshop sessions. During these sessions, you will take part in guided and tutor led discussions and will receive valuable feedback on your understanding and preparation.

The module has a site on the e-Learning Portal (Blackboard). The site stores for you lecture materials, any lecture recordings and supplementary material. The site also provides access to a variety of e-Learning resources including videos, documentaries and radio broadcasts using the “Box of Broadcasts” Library service. Curated links to relevant online resources such as ‘In Our Time’ and animated shorts will also be used. Additionally, detailed coursework guidance materials will also be provided.

Any recorded lecture material is made available to you through a variety of means including direct streaming and portable MP3 and MP4 files which you can download to use offline. This allows you to access and digest the lecture materials post-lecture at your own pace, and review and revise the lecture material on a variety of platforms and devices.

The e-LP also has a link to the module electronic reading list. This list provides you with access to eBooks, news resources and directed learning academic articles. The site also has a discussion board, on this board you will be are encouraged to take part in discussions with fellow students as part of your learning on the module.

In addition you will obtain formative feedback on this module in the following ways:
• Tutor feedback on a short presentation on your chosen topic area
• A coursework guidance and Q&A session
• Members of the module team will be available to discuss module-related issues with students on an ad hoc basis

In addition, you will be expected to engage in tutor guided independent learning (TGIL) in your preparations for teaching sessions using the materials provided and also those that you source through your research. You will prepare for teaching by undertaking the recommended reading and preparation in advance of the workshops.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• You will gain knowledge and critical appreciation of your own ethical stance and of the relevance of ethics to law and legal practice (LO1)

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• You will be able to reflect and come to conclusions about your own ethical position (LO2)
• You will be able to conduct research, analysis and synthesis in order to contribute to workshop sessions and to a group presentation and assessment essay (LO3)

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• You will develop your ability to think independently and your curiosity about the ideas and concepts that underpin law and legal practice (LO4)

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment:
Instances of formative assessment on this module include:
• Tutor feedback on a presentation on your chosen coursework topic area
• Coursework guidance and Q&A session

Summative assessment:
You will be assessed using an open book timed exam - 1 hour and 30 minutes

You will have received agreed pre release materials and will be required to respond to scenarios or similar questions based in and around the materials. (LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4)

Pre-requisite(s)

None

Co-requisite(s)

None

Module abstract

Often we turn away from ethical problems because they seem too difficult to answer. Or, we may believe that such problems are merely reflective of the different backgrounds of those concerned and that there is no single answer. We may believe that ethical positions can always be challenged – that there is no such thing as objective morality or universal ethical truth. This module considers these problems and the importance of ethics to law and legal practice. It will encourage you to examine your own ethical points of view and to reflect on them. You will be confronted by questions such as where does my morality come from? What are the values that I think are important? Developing ways to think about these is important to you individually as well as to an effective and creative lawyer. The module will inform and enhance your studies in many other legal subjects. It will also enrich your understanding of events in everyday life.

Course info

UCAS Code M757

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study Foundation year followed by a further 3 or 4 years full-time study

Department Northumbria Law School

Location Law and NBS Building, City Campus East

City Newcastle

Start September 2019 or September 2020

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